COLLECTING
Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & Luxury
Exhibition view. Copyright Thomai Serdari.

Aristocracy comes with the privileges of leisure and luxury, and with gratifications as diverse as the colors of the rainbow. Nonetheless, the common belief that associates aristocracy with an inherent entitlement to freedom is mistaken. This is what one learns from “La mécanique des dessous, une histoire indiscrète de la silhouette,” the spectacular exhibit currently […]

View of "Alaïa" at the Palais Galliera, Paris.

The re-opening of the Musée de la Mode de Paris, also known as Palais Galliera, has created much anticipation for two reasons. The building itself, a Beaux Arts edifice completed in 1894, had been in need of major restoration. As for the mission of the organization, it too required a major revisiting to question what, […]

Lara Knutson. Soft Glass, 2010. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Historians organize our experiences in neatly defined historic movements. Romanticism, the intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, found expression in artistic and literary works that deeply impacted the Western world until about 1850. Romantic works stemmed from heightened emotions and man’s aesthetic experience in the world. In turn, […]

Tiffany & Co. Vintage Minaudière. Courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

For the last ten years, auction houses have been steadily increasing their presence in the field of vintage fashion and accessories. Increased consumption of luxury goods has paralleled the ups and downs of the market and, as a result, it has generated an entire new category of product placement at auctions. While the major auction […]

Shoe by NoritakaTatehana

Contrary to other accessories, such as hats or bags, women’s shoes exhibit a great degree of mechanical malfunction. This stems from the shoes’ impossible structures, contorted shapes, and dizzying heights, all of which render them unfit for everyday use. That’s not necessarily bad. Certain models of luxury watches are known for unprecise time keeping. Luxury […]

Vogue cover with Belperron brooch, 1934. Courtesy of Vogue.

Suzanne Belperron (1900-1983) is known today as the jewelry designer who never signed her creations and who deliberately burned her personal papers and photographs–or at least, this is the myth created around her name. This version of history has been defeated with the monographic work on Belperron by French jewelry expert Sylvie Raulet. Belperron’s powerful […]

Galerie Girardon. Courtesy of Christie's.

Henri Mattise, one of the initial fauve painters, collected photographs of erotica. Pablo Picasso, perhaps the most famous artist of the twentieth century, collected African art. Herb Ritts, self-taught fashion photographer, began collecting photographs as he discovered his own proclivity for the camera. Is collecting a pastime to be associated with masters of modern art? […]

Joself Albers, Homage to the Square. Courtesy of The Morgan Library.

Side by side comparisons, also known as “compare and contrast,” are the go-to tool of art historians. It’s a fail-safe method that brings out the most fine of subtleties in works that at first glance have nothing in common. What is one to do with about 60 sketches of oil on paper by Josef Albers […]

Kehinde Wiley. Alios Itzhak and Mizrah Ukraine, 2011. Detail. Courtesy of The Jewish Museum.

From Carrie Bradshaw’s “fashion road kill” on the TV series Sex and the City to last week’s incident in the Bronx, when a teenager was brutally beaten for his sunglasses and sneakers, the message is clear: fashion kills. Whether responsible for the ramshackle of many a starlet’s celebrity or the sudden halt of someone’s life, […]